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>> Changing picture on the Far East – WCSA trade lane. more.

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>> The Qatar crisis: impact on container shipping services.more.

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>> Invest in rail freight to cut road congestion.more.

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>> New Mega Alliances.more.

>> Businesses have their say on freight transport in the Marches.more.

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>> Non alliance shipping lines.more.

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>> Are direct services becoming less attractive for shipping lines?. more.

>> What happens to the small ships post Panama Canal expansion?. more.

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Road Freight Forecasts 2015

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has published road traffic forecasts which used MDST’s GB Freight Model (GBFM) to develop forecasts to 2040 for HGV traffic on the British road network.  The road traffic forecasts are designed to provide a national view of possible future trends in road traffic and are used by the Uk Government to analyse the implications of a variety of strategic level policy options on traffic levels, emissions and congestion.

HGV demand forecasts were derived by the DfT from GBFM, which is a multi stage behavioural choice model which was developed, and is owned, by MDS Transmodal and can therefore be used to test a wide variety of scenarios for other clients as well by the UK government at a national level.  For the DfT’s road freight forecasts to 2040, base year data was taken from domestic and international freight movements for a range of commodities. These freight movements were then grown based on forecasts of manufacturing growth for each of the commodities and the cost of moving goods using HGVs.  The forecast freight traffic was then assigned to the road and rail modes using generalised cost models and assigned to different parts of the road network in accordance with achieving the shortest journey times between the origins and destinations.  The resulting HGV growth rates on different road and area types and regions are then passed into the National Transport Model enabling the model to estimate levels of congestion and emissions.

As there is inherent uncertainty in relation to some trends and relationships used to explain trends in traffic (such as economic and demographic inputs) the DfT chose to adopt an approach that enables them to model the impact of a range of risks to the forecasts rather than, in theory, to produce a central forecast.  This scenario-based approach led to the development of five different scenarios, with growth rates for HGVs and total traffic as shown in the table below.

HGV road traffic forecasts 2010-40 (Source:  UK Department for Transport, March 2015)


Income growth per annum

HGV traffic growth 2010-40

Total traffic growth

Scenario 1




Scenario 2




Scenario 3




Scenario 4




Scenario 5




HGV forecasts were assumed by the DfT to vary mainly according to GDP growth and therefore the overall level of economic activity, while taking into account some potential for modal switch to rail.  While the results of the forecast scenarios vary considerably, from 1% growth in Scenario 4 to 58% growth in Scenario 5, the DfT appears to believe that the most likely scenario is for HGV traffic growth of 22% over the 30 year period.